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Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) has taken the time to look back on the nine races of the 2017 season already completed in the intermediate class – as the team uses the summer break to recuperate before the second half of the campaign gets underway at Brno in August.
The Moto2™ rookie from South Africa has featured twice now in the top 10, with good progress during his first year in the class despite struggling with injury. The reigning Moto3™ Champion broke his arm during testing in late 2016 and misfortune followed with complications at the Grand Prix in Argentina earlier this year.
Despite a lack of testing references and data at the majority of tracks, the speedy adaptation made into the Moto2™ class by KTM to date means there are plenty of reasons to dream of continued strong results for the team before the year’s end.
What has it been like having to deal with so many operations on your left arm?
It’s been very hard. When I thought that I would only be missing training in December, we arrived at the end of January and I was told that I had to go under the knife again. Everything seemed fine, but in Argentina, the plate moved and I broke my arm again while I was riding, forcing me to go through a third operation. That last one was harder than the previous two, because I have had to do much more rehabilitation. Now I just need time in order to get strong again. Every time I get on the bike I feel better and more comfortable, so we are taking steps in the right direction.
Was it your worst moment in your Grand Prix career to date?
Yes, without a doubt. It has been very strange. I was living a dream; I had won my first World Championship, won the last race of the year, had my first Moto2 test… and suddenly a crash brought me back down to earth. I was unlucky, but this is part of racing. I hope I don’t have any more injuries, but if I do, I think I'll be better prepared to face it.
How are you feeling about your first season in Moto2?
Starting out in this new class has been hard. I haven’t yet been able to ride when 100% fit, so it's very frustrating. Every time I get on the bike I learn something new.
Are you surprised by the results that this new Red Bull KTM Ajo project are getting in the first half of the season?
I knew from the beginning that Ajo Motorsport would not accept competing with a bike that wasn’t able to win. However, seeing the incredible results that Miguel [Oliveira] is achieving with the bike is impressive. This is good for me because it is a reference to follow. He and the team are helping me learn very quickly.
You've had many raceday fightbacks similar to the ones you had last year in Moto3. Is it just as difficult to do in Moto2?
In Moto3 I always had a very good pace throughout the weekend and I felt like one of the strongest riders on track. This year I have started races from far back, but because I wasn’t faster in practice. In the race I close my eyes and give 110% from the beginning to the end. It is satisfying to see that on Sundays I can take a step forward compared to qualifying.
What is your plan for the summer break?
I’ll be back home, in South Africa. Once I’ve been able to disconnect, I’ll return to Europe and train hard once again to face the second half of the season as prepared as possible.
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